CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Relatives of a 13-year-old shot and killed early Tuesday morning say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the 16-year-old who pulled the trigger was a friend who meant to shoot someone else who was harassing him.
Police aren’t releasing many details, but they charged Damien Wright with Khalil Cousart’s death. Investigators say the two knew each other and the murder was not a random act of violence.
The shooting happened shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Tuckaseegee Road and Parkway Avenue in west Charlotte.
Friends say someone in a white car came up to Wright and told him they were looking for him. That’s when friends say Wright shot at the car but hit Cousart in the chest by mistake, killing him.
"He's playful, he's happy, he likes joking around with people,” said friend Sierra Martinez-Scogins.
Quick with a laugh and quick with a smile is why Martinez-Scogins says people immediately liked Cousart. Pastor Greg Jarrell with Hyaets Youth Group calls Cousart a big-brother type to younger kids involved in the same program.
"I used to call Khalil my little boyfriend. Khalil never bothered anybody,” said friend Crishonda Cruse.
Why Cousart ended up dead early Tuesday morning is something those friends now have a hard time understanding.
"There's nothing you can tell them that makes sense,” Jarrell said.
"The talk around the neighborhood is that it was an accident, that he (Wright) was trying to defend himself because I guess people were coming around saying they wanted him,” Perdue said.
Police records show Wright has two arrests this year for drug paraphernalia and for possessing a gun as a minor.
Neighbors say the two were friends and have a hard time believing Wright would shoot Cousart on purpose.
For now, police aren't saying if someone was after Wright when he allegedly killed Cousart, or if the shots were meant for someone else.
At the intersection where Cousart died, there’s so much sorrow for a life cut so short.
"He was too young. He didn't get to do anything yet,” said Martinez-Scogins.
"I miss him and I just wish he was here right now,” Perdue said.